Youngsters with hearing loss are more likely to be the victims of bullying in school than their school mates with normal hearing, according to a Swedish study. The adverse consequences can affect the development of the victims.
Between one in three and one in five hearing impaired students become victims of bullying. One in three of those suffering from hearing loss in addition to other disabilities reports being bullied. Among hearing impaired teenagers with no other disability, bullying is part of everyday life for one in five. In comparison, the rate of bullying victims among youngsters with normal hearing is one in 10.
The data was collected in a study of the mental and social issues among 15-16 year old students in the public (state) school system in Örebro, Sweden.
Bullying affects the self-esteem of the victims. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, bullying may adversely affect the social and emotional development, as well as the school performance of the young victims.
Hearing impaired children are already likely to suffer in school when compared with children with normal hearing. Studies have shown that hearing loss appears to affect both the outcome of education and employment status, noted the researchers in the Swedish report. Bullying may add another barrier to the positive social, emotional and educational development of hearing impaired teenagers.
Source: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 13 December 2007; American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, May 2008